cover image Zima Blue and Other Stories

Zima Blue and Other Stories

Alastair Reynolds, . . Night Shade, $26.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-1-59780-058-7

This solid collection of 10 stories spanning the galaxies and the career of British SF author Reynolds (Pushing Ice ) demonstrates that his pursuit of truth is not limited to wide-angle star smashing. Not that stars don't get pulverized when one character is gifted (or cursed) with an awful weapon by the legendary Merlin, who finds it after a 10,000-year search in "Merlin's Gun." Mainly, though, Reynolds's protagonists find themselves in situations of betrayal, whether by a loved one's accidental death, as in "Signal to Noise," or by a trusted wartime authority, as in "Spirey and the Queen." Reynolds may not always convince that intelligence leads to moral behavior, but his fertile imagination can resurrect Elton John on Mars in "Understanding Space and Time" or make prophets of the human condition out of pool-cleaning robots in the title story. (Dec.)